Four charity projects that use computer technology to reduce social exclusion on the Island have been boosted by funding from the Isle of Wight Foundation.
The Foundation, made up of the partners in Highways PFI company Island Roads, has announced that Mountbatten Hospice, Isle of Wight Search and Rescue (Wight SAR), Aspire Ryde and the 4Ps Training School run by Vectis Radio are the latest groups to receive funding. They will share a total of nearly £30,000.
Each year, the foundation – comprising Ringway Island Roads, Meridiam, VINCI UK Foundation and VINCI Concessions – supports projects working to tackle social exclusion on the Island. Since 2014, the foundation has awarded more than £543,000 to such good causes and this year alone over £73,000 has been shared between ten local projects.
Mountbatten hospice will use its £6,700 to purchase 30 laptops for its Neighbours Remote Support initiative while Aspire will use the £6,730 grant to provide computer equipment and furniture for a new skills hub.
WightSAR has been donated £8,000 for new search and rescue equipment and training, while Vectis Radio’s 4Ps Training School will use its £8,000 award to support work helping young people to improve life chances by building their confidence and improve their communication through radio work.
IW Foundation chairman Phillip Horton said: “Once again the foundation was truly impressed with the great range of community projects that are tackling social exclusion in so many innovative and effective ways.
“The companies behind Island Roads have always had an ethos that they want the Highways PFI to not only deliver improvements to local infrastructure but to make a make a positive impact on the wider Island community as well.
“We are delighted to be working with so many inspirational local bodies to help make that impact.”
Trevor Nicholas, Aspire chief executive said: “This money is a real boost to our project to create a relaxed and informal training hub based at our information point in Ryde but also enabling folk to be supported from home or anywhere else too.
“Participants will be referred from housing providers and employment services and will be able to walk in to develop their own free learning pathways, helping them to realise their own potential and to earn qualifications that can help them into employment.”
Ian Mac of Vectis Radio said: “We are delighted to receive these very much needed funds – it will make such a difference to young people at this critical time.
“It means that we can put on sessions in 2021 for young people many with learning difficulties and a lack of confidence and communication skills that have been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Mountbatten chief executive Nigel Hartley said: “The Mountbatten Neighbours project has traditionally trained volunteers to provide support to vulnerable people within their own homes who are isolated or lonely and have a chronic, life-limiting or end of life illness.
“Because of COVID-19 we have responded in new ways and have changed the way the scheme operates by focussing more on virtual contact. The 30 devices we can now purchase with the foundation grant will be vital to support us to continue to adapt the project so we can carry on breaking down the barriers to social integration for vulnerable people who are very much in need of support.”
Dean Terrett, chair of WightSAR said: “We are absolutely thrilled to once again receive the support of the Isle of Wight Foundation. The last months have been somewhat of a challenge with Covid putting a stop to our usual fundraising activities so this is so important to us.
“The grant will allow us to provide additional training and equipment to increase our capabilities as a lowland search and rescue organisation working alongside others including Hampshire Police, HM Coast Guard, RNLI, Independent Lifeboats, IW Fire Brigade and the IW Ambulance Service.”
Recently, the Isle of Wight Foundation also announced funding of over £42,000 to be shared between Care in the Garden, Ability Dogs 4 Young People and Bembridge Friendship Circle. Chillerton and Gatcombe Community Association, the Newport-based Way Forward Programme, and Whippingham Community Association. All in all, over £70,000 has been distributed by the foundation this year.
Applications for the next round of IW Foundation grant will be sought from February 8 2021.
You can read more about the foundation, its work, how to apply from grants and projects it has previously supported by clicking https://islandroads.com/iw-foundation/